Ukraine orders 1-week government cease-fire

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

19 PHOTOS
Ukraine talks cease-fire
See Gallery
Ukraine orders 1-week government cease-fire
Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaliy Yarema (R) and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov examine a map prior to a National Security and Defence Council sitting in Kiev on June 16, 2014. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said during the opening of the sitting that a ceasefire was the beginning of his peace plan for resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (L) and Defence Minister Mykhaylo Koval arrive for a National Security and Defence Council sitting in Kiev on June 16, 2014. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said during the opening of the sitting that a ceasefire was the beginning of his peace plan for resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (L) and Defence Minister Mykhaylo Koval arrive for a National Security and Defence Council sitting in Kiev on June 16, 2014. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said during the opening of the sitting that a ceasefire was the beginning of his peace plan for resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko arrives for a National Security and Defence Council sitting in Kiev on June 16, 2014. Poroshenko said during the opening of the sitting that a ceasefire was the beginning of his peace plan for resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks during a National Security and Defence Council sitting in Kiev on June 16, 2014. Poroshenko said during the opening of the sitting that a ceasefire was the beginning of his peace plan for resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks during a National Security and Defence Council sitting in Kiev on June 16, 2014. Poroshenko said during the opening of the sitting that a ceasefire was the beginning of his peace plan for resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (2nd L) speaks during a National Security and Defence Council sitting in Kiev on June 16, 2014, flanked by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk (3rd L) and speaker of the Ukrainian parliament Oleksandr Turchynov (L). Poroshenko said during the opening of the sitting that a ceasefire was the beginning of his peace plan for resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-Russian militants look through the debris of an IL-76 Ukrainian military transporter which was taken down by pro-Russian rebels early on June 14, on the outskirts of Lugansk June 14, 2014. Ukraine's new Western-backed President Petro Poroshenko vowed Saturday to deliver an 'adequate response' to pro-Russian rebels who downed a military transport plane, killing 49 troops. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL MIHAILESCU (Photo credit should read DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)
A boy sits on a barricade to be demolished next to Ukranian police forces (R) outside the headquarters of separatist militias of the self-proclaimed 'Donetsk People's Republic' in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol on June 13, 2014. Ukrainian forces said they had hoisted the national flag over the strategic rebel-held port of Mariupol on June 13 in their biggest advance since Petro Poroshenko's election as the insurgency-wrecked country's pro-Western president. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL MIHAILESCU (Photo credit should read DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)
SLAVYANSK, UKRAINE - JUNE 9: Several buildings were damaged by a mortar attack of Ukrainian government troops in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine on June 9, 2014. Buildings have been damaged by shelling in Slavyansk, controlling by pro-Russian separatists as Ukraines newly sworn-in President Petro Poroshenko and Russian and European officials have discussed proposals to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine. (Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KIEV, UKRAINE - JUNE 07: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) Ukraine's new president, Petro Poroshenko (C), takes part in inaugural festivities at St. Sophia Square on June 7, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. Poroshenko was elected on May 25 with a majority in the country's first round of presidential voting. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
A masked man, soldier of the volunteer Ukrainian army 'Donbass' battalion, takes part in a rally by Maidan activists at Independence Square in Kiev, calling upon the Ukrainian President to abandon the cease-fire with armed pro-Russia separatists in the east of the country, on June 29, 2014. A spokesman for the Ukraine army's eastern military campaign stated five Ukrainian troops were killed and at least 17 wounded over the past 24 hours in the eastern regions of the country. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande will join Ukraine's new leader on a call today to Russia's Vladimir Putin before Kiev's shaky truce with pro-Kremlin separatists expires. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
A man holds a sign reading 'We chat - they kill !' as he and other people take part in a rally by Maidan activists at Independence Square in Kiev, calling upon the Ukrainian President to abandon the cease-fire with armed pro-Russia separatists in the east of the country, on June 29, 2014. A spokesman for the Ukraine army's eastern military campaign stated five Ukrainian troops were killed and at least 17 wounded over the past 24 hours in the eastern regions of the country. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande will join Ukraine's new leader on a call today to Russia's Vladimir Putin before Kiev's shaky truce with pro-Kremlin separatists expires. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
People shouts slogans as they take part in a rally by Maidan activists at Independence Square in Kiev, calling upon the Ukrainian President to abandon the cease-fire with armed pro-Russia separatists in the east of the country, on June 29, 2014. A spokesman for the Ukraine army's eastern military campaign stated five Ukrainian troops were killed and at least 17 wounded over the past 24 hours in the eastern regions of the country. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande will join Ukraine's new leader on a call today to Russia's Vladimir Putin before Kiev's shaky truce with pro-Kremlin separatists expires. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Women hold signs reading 'The cease-fire is killing !', ' The traitors are in power again' and 'Down with parliament' as they take part in a rally by Maidan activists at Independence Square in Kiev, calling upon the Ukrainian President to abandon the cease-fire with armed pro-Russia separatists in the east of the country, on June 29, 2014. A spokesman for the Ukraine army's eastern military campaign stated five Ukrainian troops were killed and at least 17 wounded over the past 24 hours in the eastern regions of the country. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande will join Ukraine's new leader on a call today to Russia's Vladimir Putin before Kiev's shaky truce with pro-Kremlin separatists expires. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
An elderly resident walks past a house destroyed by shelling in the besieged city of Slaviansk on June 24, 2014. Separatists of the self-proclaimed 'Donetsk People's Republic' in Slavyansk are surrounded by Ukrainian forces and have been enduring daily shelling for over two months. Ukraine's new Western-backed leader sought urgent talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 25, 2014 after rebels shot down an army helicopter despite ceasefire orders from their own commander to observe a fragile truce. The death of nine servicemen outside the pro-Russian stronghold city of Slavyansk and loss of two other soldiers in attacks by separatist gunmen prompted Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to threaten to unleash a powerful new military campaign in the industrial east. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents walk outside a house wrecked by shelling in the besieged city of Slaviansk on June 24, 2014. Separatists of the self-proclaimed 'Donetsk People's Republic' in Slavyansk are surrounded by Ukrainian forces and have been enduring daily shelling for over two months. Ukraine's new Western-backed leader sought urgent talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 25, 2014 after rebels shot down an army helicopter despite ceasefire orders from their own commander to observe a fragile truce. The death of nine servicemen outside the pro-Russian stronghold city of Slavyansk and loss of two other soldiers in attacks by separatist gunmen prompted Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to threaten to unleash a powerful new military campaign in the industrial east. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
A soldier of the self-proclaimed 'Donetsk People's Republic' shows shrapnel from a shell in a heavily shelled neighbourhood in the besieged city of Slaviansk on June 24, 2014. Separatists of the self-proclaimed 'Donetsk People's Republic' in Slavyansk are surrounded by Ukrainian forces and have been enduring daily shelling for over two months. Ukraine's new Western-backed leader sought urgent talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 25, 2014 after rebels shot down an army helicopter despite ceasefire orders from their own commander to observe a fragile truce. The death of nine servicemen outside the pro-Russian stronghold city of Slavyansk and loss of two other soldiers in attacks by separatist gunmen prompted Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to threaten to unleash a powerful new military campaign in the industrial east. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION


By DAVID McHUGH and MARKO DOBRNJAKOVIC
Associated Press

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukraine's president ordered his forces to cease fire Friday and halt military operations for a week against pro-Russian separatists in the country's east - the first step in a peace plan he hopes will end the fighting that has killed hundreds.

The Kremlin dismissed the plan, saying it sounded like an ultimatum and lacked any firm offer to open talks with insurgents.

Petro Poroshenko, making his first trip to the east as Ukraine's president, said that the cease-fire will run until the morning of June 27 and that his troops reserve the right to fire back if separatists attack them or civilians.

"The Ukrainian army is ceasing fire," he said in a statement. "But this does not mean that we will not resist. In case of aggression toward our troops, we will do everything to defend the territory of our state."

Separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions have declared independence from his government in Kiev, occupied public buildings and fought with heavy weapons against Ukrainian troops.

Rebel leaders have already dismissed Poroshenko's plan, and it remains to be seen whether they will comply and how much pressure Russia will put on them to cease fire.

The Kremlin denies supporting the insurrection and has said that Russians fighting in Ukraine are doing so as private citizens.

Russia said in a statement that an initial analysis of Poroshenko's plan shows that "it's not an invitation for peace and talks, but an ultimatum" to insurgents in southeast Ukraine to lay down their weapons. It said the plan "lacks the main element - an offer to start talks."

The Kremlin said Poroshenko's government issued the peace plan "deliberately or accidentally" at roughly the same moment that Ukrainian forces fired into Russian territory, wounding a Russian customs officer. It said the Russian side was waiting for Ukrainian "explanations and excuses" over the attack.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said that its forces were trying to flush out insurgents near the border checkpoint, but denied targeting it.

Leonid Slutsky, a senior lawmaker in the lower house of Russian parliament, said Russian President Vladimir Putin could be waiting to see concrete action by the Ukrainian forces to stop fighting.

"That will be a proof that Poroshenko is indeed the president. That could be considered the first step toward peace," Slutsky said, according to an ITAR-Tass report.

Putin has criticized Ukraine's military operation against the rebels but he has resisted both the rebels' pleas to join Russia and appeals from Russian nationalists to send troops into Ukraine.

The White House and European leaders urged support for the plan.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the U.S. government "has been very clear in our support for President Poroshenko's effort to bring peace and unity to Ukraine." He said the White House wants Russia "to stop supporting the militants who are fomenting so much violence and instability."

Tension between Russia and Ukraine escalated sharply in February when protests in favor of closer ties with the European Union drove President Viktor Yanukovych from power. Russia denounced the events as a coup and annexed Ukraine's mostly Russian-speaking Crimea region. The rebellion in the eastern regions broke out shortly afterward, with Ukraine accusing Russia of supporting it.

Poroshenko's cease-fire is intended to give separatists time to lay down their arms and to allow fighters from Russia to safely leave the country.

The proposed next steps include joint security patrols to prevent looting and other crime, new local and parliamentary elections, and measures to protect the language rights of Russian speakers in the east.

In the longer term, Poroshenko has suggested decentralizing power to give the country's regions more political authority.

At a border crossing near Izvaryne in the separatist Luhansk region, 100 or more cars waited in line for hours to cross from Ukraine into Russia as people fled the unrest. Some cars were piled high with possessions.

One car had a sign on the windshield that said "children." A man named Sergei, who would not give his last name for fear of retaliation, said, "People are simply leaving everything and trying to escape the war."

The United Nations says at least 356 people have been killed since May 7 and 34,000 have fled their homes. The U.N. report doesn't include casualties from previous weeks of fighting, so the actual toll could be significantly higher.

20 PHOTOS
Turmoil in East Ukraine
See Gallery
Ukraine orders 1-week government cease-fire
DONETSK, UKRAINE - JULY 28: A photojournalist takes photo of destroyed Ukranian tank during the clashes between Ukranian army and pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk, Ukraine on 28 July, 2014. (Photo by Soner Kilinc/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - JULY 28: Pro-Russian separatists shot the building during the clashes between Ukranian army in Donetsk, Ukraine on 28 July, 2014. Ukranian army capture the region after the clashes. (Photo by Soner Kilinc/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - JULY 28: A gas station is destroyed by pro-Russian separatists during the clashes between Ukranian army in Donetsk, Ukraine on 28 July, 2014. Ukranian army capture the region after the clashes. (Photo by Soner Kilinc/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - JULY 28: A damaged building is seen after the Ukrainian army seized control of the Ukraine's Sievierodonetsk over pro-Russian seperatists on July 28, 2014. (Photo by Soner Kilinc/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - JULY 28: A damaged building is seen after the Ukrainian army seized control of the Ukraine's Sievierodonetsk over pro-Russian seperatists on July 28, 2014. (Photo by Soner Kilinc/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - JULY 28: A damaged building is seen after the Ukrainian army seized control of the Ukraine's Sievierodonetsk over pro-Russian seperatists on July 28, 2014. (Photo by Soner Kilinc/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - JULY 28: A damaged building is seen after the Ukrainian army seized control of the Ukraine's Sievierodonetsk over pro-Russian seperatists on July 28, 2014. (Photo by Soner Kilinc/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A body of a pro-Russian gunman lies in a truck at a checkpoint outside of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, who was killed during a battle between pro-Russian militiamen and Ukrainian forces in the town of Karlivka on May 23, 2014. At least five people were killed in fighting early Friday between pro-Russian militiamen and Ukrainian forces near the eastern city of Donetsk, an AFP photographer said. Fighting in the east has witnessed a bloody resurgence ahead of Sunday's presidential election that the pro-Russian insurgents have vowed to disrupt. AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-Russian militiamen take a rest at a checkpoint in Pisky, some 15 km from Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, on the road between Donetsk and Krasnoarmiisk, on May 23, 2014. At least five people were killed in fighting early Friday between pro-Russian militiamen and Ukrainian forces near Donetsk, an AFP photographer said. Fighting in the east has witnessed a bloody resurgence ahead of Sunday's presidential election that the pro-Russian insurgents have vowed to disrupt. AFP PHOTO / FABIO BUCCIARELLI (Photo credit should read FABIO BUCCIARELLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-Russian gunmen stand at a checkpoint outside of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on May 23, 2014. At least five people were killed in fighting early Friday between pro-Russian militiamen and Ukrainian forces near Donetsk, an AFP photographer said. Fighting in the east has witnessed a bloody resurgence ahead of Sunday's presidential election that the pro-Russian insurgents have vowed to disrupt. AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF *** GRAPHIC CONTENT *** (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (2nd R) and Swiss President and Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter (R) walk into a hall to attend a news conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, on May 7, 2014. Putin called on separatists in east Ukraine on Wednesday to postpone a referendum on independence for the mostly Russian-speaking region and said Moscow had withdrawn troops from the border with Ukraine. AFP PHOTO / POOL / SERGEI KARPUKHIN (Photo credit should read SERGEI KARPUKHIN/AFP/Getty Images)
A Ukrainian military helicopter lands at a checkpoint which troops seized in the early morning in the village of Andreevka, 7 kms from the centre of the southern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk, on May 2, 2014. Ukraine's military lost two helicopters and two servicemen on May 2 in a deadly offensive launched just before dawn against pro-Russian rebels holding the flashpoint town of Slavyansk, insurgents and authorities said. AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOV (Photo credit should read VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images)
DONETSK, UKRAINE - MAY 2: The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense announced that four pro-Russian separatists, who shot allegedly two Ukrainian helicopters down detained in Donetsk, Ukraine on May 2, 2014. Two Ukrainian helicopters were shot down, killing a pilot and serviceman during military operations against armed pro-Russian separatists in the east of Slavyansk on Friday. (Photo by Ukrainian Ministry of Defense/Pool/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A helicopter lands near a tank at a checkpoint seized in the early morning in the village of Andreevka, 7 km from the center of the southern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk, on May 2, 2014. Ukraine's military lost two helicopters and two servicemen on May 2 in a deadly offensive launched just before dawn against pro-Russian rebels holding the flashpoint town of Slavyansk, insurgents and authorities said. AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOV (Photo credit should read VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A girlfriend and a relative say their goodbyes to a new volunteer recruit of the Ukrainian army 'Azov' battalion after a military oath ceremony in Kiev and before his contingent heads towards eastern regions, on June 23, 2014. Some 600 new volunteer recruits of the battalion, mainly representatives of the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine, who followed combat training during three weeks will take part in the military operation against armed pro-Russian militants in the east of the country. Ukraine pressed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other Western allies today to help end a pro-Russian uprising that has continued to rage in the industrial east despite Kiev's unilateral ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
New volunteer recruits of the Ukrainian army 'Donbass' battalion take a military oath during a ceremony of the National Guard unit near the Novi Petrivtsi village not far from Kiev, on June 23, 2014. Some 600 new volunteer recruits of the battalion, mainly representatives of the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine, who followed combat training during three weeks will take part in the military operation against armed pro-Russian militants in the east of the country. Ukraine pressed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other Western allies today to help end a pro-Russian uprising that has continued to rage in the industrial east despite Kiev's unilateral ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
New volunteer recruits of the Ukrainian army 'Donbass' battalion take part in a military oath ceremony of the National Guard near the Novi Petrivtsi village not far from Kiev, on June 23, 2014. Some 600 new volunteer recruits of the battalion, mainly representatives of the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine, who followed combat training during three weeks will take part in the military operation against armed pro-Russian militants in the east of the country. Ukraine pressed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other Western allies today to help end a pro-Russian uprising that has continued to rage in the industrial east despite Kiev's unilateral ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
New volunteer recruits of the Ukrainian army 'Azov' battalion take part in a military oath ceremony in Kiev, on June 23, 2014. Some 600 new volunteer recruits of the battalion, mainly representatives of the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine, who followed combat training during three weeks will take part in the military operation against armed pro-Russian militants in the east of the country. Ukraine pressed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other Western allies today to help end a pro-Russian uprising that has continued to rage in the industrial east despite Kiev's unilateral ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
A new volunteer recruit of the Ukrainian army 'Donbass' battalion flashes a 'victory sign' during a military oath ceremony of the National Guard near the Novi Petrivtsi village not far from Kiev, on June 23, 2014. Some 600 new volunteer recruits of the battalion, mainly representatives of the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine, who followed combat training during three weeks will take part in the military operation against armed pro-Russian militants in the east of the country. Ukraine pressed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other Western allies today to help end a pro-Russian uprising that has continued to rage in the industrial east despite Kiev's unilateral ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION

---

Dobrnjakovic reported from Izvaryne. AP reporters Vladimir Isachenkov and Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow contributed to this report.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners